Indian shares end lower as metal stocks fall; Axis Bank slumps 6%

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People stand outside the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), after Sensex surpassed the 60,000 level for the first time, in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares closed lower on Wednesday as easing supply concerns weighed on metal stocks, while private banks slipped after Axis Bank reported disappointing loan growth.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index ended down 0.31% at 18,210.95 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.34% to 61,143.33.

Copper and aluminum prices hit multi-week lows on easing supply concerns, pulling down the Nifty metals index 1.5%. [MET/L]

Private-sector lender Axis Bank fell 6.5% and was the top loser on the Nifty 50 index after posting weaker loan and margin growth than its peers. The broader bank index fell 0.9%.

The Nifty public sector bank index, however, rose 2.1%, making it the top gainer among the main sectors. The information technology index climbed 0.97%.

Analysts said market participants were worried about the impact of commodity inflation on corporate profit margins and higher valuations.

"We see earnings recovery in Q2 as the economy opens up but with valuations stretched, we expect a tactical correction to markets," BofA analysts said in a note.

Several companies including TTK Prestige, Arvind Ltd, IIFL Finance, Indian Overseas Bank, United Spirits, Welspun India reported a surge in profit on Wednesday, compared to a year ago.

However, India's top car maker Maruti Suzuki reported a lower quarterly profit and said shortage of semiconductors, other components and higher commodity prices have upset targets and expectations.

Larsen & Toubro, cigarette maker ITC, Bajaj Auto, Titan Company and Adani Enterprises will report their earnings later on Wednesday.

Asian Paints rose 4.2% after reports said the company was planning steep price hikes to offset commodity costs.

(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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